Ginger Beats Allergy Drug in Clinical Study

Ginger reduces allergy symptoms better than a top pharmaceutical drug commonly used to treat allergies, according to a clinical study from a medical university. The study proved that ginger reduces allergy symptoms better and was safer than the pharmaceutical drug called Loratadine.

ginger beats drug
Ginger treats allergies according to clinical research.

The caveat is that the researchers concluded that ginger and the drug (Loratadine) reduced allergy symptoms similarly. But as we will show in this article, the ginger extract was more effective than the drug, and resulted in significantly fewer side effects.

Ginger versus Loratadine

The 2020 study was conducted by the Faculty of Medicine at Thailand’s Thammasat University.

This study compared ginger extract to the common allergy medicine called Loratadine in treating allergies, medically called allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis or allergies is not an infectious condition. It causes symptoms like sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. This typically occurs when the allergic person is exposed to allergens like pollen or dust.

The researchers divided 80 people with allergies into two groups. One group of 40 people were were given ginger extract in the form of a pill. The other half were given Loratadine in a similar looking pill.

Neither the patients nor the doctors knew who got which treatment. So the study was double-blind. It was also randomized (the patients were randomly put into their respective group) and controlled, because the two treatments were identically compared and examined for effects.

The patients were between 18 years old and 70 years old. Each group was treated for 6 weeks. The ginger group was given 500 milligrams of ginger extract per day. The drug group was given 10 milligrams of loratadine per day.

The researchers measured the effectiveness of the treatments by monitoring the patients’ symptoms. They also tested each patient using a special tool that measures the size of the nasal cavity. They also interviewed each patient about their quality of life related to their allergies.

Each patient was tested at week three and at the end of the study (week six).

The results showed that both the ginger extract and loratadine groups improved their nasal symptoms. According to the research summary (abstract), it would seem that the herb and the drug were identical in terms of their performance.

Looking deeper at the results

But we looked a bit deeper at the results. We found that not only did ginger produce fewer side effects. The ginger group also had greater improvements in practically every metric.

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Let’s start with the total nasal symptom scores (TNSS). The ginger group improved from a starting score of 7.48 down to 3.42 (lower is better = fewer symptoms). Meanwhile the drug treatment scores went from an average of 7.38 to 4.33.

Thus, ginger reduced nasal symptoms significantly greater than the drug. The ginger group showed 54% improvement in nasal symptoms compared to a 41% improvement for the drug.

Let’s look at the patients’ symptom scores in more detail.

On the runny nose score, the ginger group went from 2.00 down to 0.89 (again, fewer runny nose symptoms). This is compared to the drug scores of 2.00 down to 1.14. Again, the ginger beats. That’s a 55% improvement in the ginger group compared to a 43% improvement in the drug group.

On itchy nose scores, ginger went from 1.65 down to 0.81. The drug went from 1.60 down to 0.86. Not a lot of difference on the result, but here the ginger group had more itchy nose scores in the beginning, so the relative difference was greater.

A similar story on nasal congestion. Ginger scores went from 2.32 down to 1.00. The drug scores went from 2.15 down to 1.28. Not only a significantly lower result, but the ginger group was higher in the beginning. That’s an improvement of 56% for the ginger compared to 40% for the drug group.

Sneezing scores were also better for ginger. The ginger group went from 1.50 to 0.72, or down by 0.78 points. The drug scores went from 1.62 to 0.83, a difference of 0.72.

Ginger beat the drug in breathing scores

Then there are the acoustic rhinometry scores between ginger and the drug. These measurements indicate how much room the sinuses have inside.

The more room inside the sinuses, the clearer our noses are. They can take in more air.

In the right nasal cavity volumes, scores went from 3.83 to 4.38 in the ginger group. But in the drug group scores went from 3.62 to 3.63. Remember, greater is better in this test.

In the left nasal cavity volumes, the ginger scores went from 3.95 to 4.25 in the ginger group. The drug group only saw a change of 3.53 to 3.67. That means the drug group only improved by 4% while the ginger group improved by 30%.

That’s a significant improvement for the ginger group. The ginger group had more room to breathe compared to the drug group.

Ginger beat the drug in safety as well

The drug caused drowsiness in 25% of the patients. About 20% reported dry mouth, and about 14% reported dry mouth. The ginger group did not report drowsiness. About 11% reported some dry mouth or throat. The worst side effect for the ginger group was an increase in burping.

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Increased burping can also indicate better digestion with better digestion of foods. This would be considered a positive side effect of ginger – better food digestion.

The drug group also reported more instances of fatigue, dizziness, and constipation compared to the ginger group.

The drug also increased ALP liver enzyme levels, indicating it wasn’t so great for the liver. This compared to a decrease in ALP liver enzyme scores for the ginger group, indicating that ginger helps the liver.

The study concludes that ginger extract is more effective compared to loratadine in improving nasal symptoms and increased nasal cavity for people with allergies.

This is especially important because, ginger extract causes fewer side effects, including drowsiness, fatigue and potential liver harm.

All of this means clearly that Ginger beat this drug in treating allergies. It was more effective in many metrics, and also had less side effects according to the research.

Despite their characterization of equality, in all fairness, the researchers did agree in the final analysis of ginger’s better performance for allergies:

“After adjusting for possible differences in clinical characteristics between the treatment groups, the results showed that the TNSS scores of the ginger extract treated group consistently decreased at week 3 and 6 and were better than loratadine group, (0.666 and 0.574 scores, respectively). As for ARM value, the ginger extract treated group significantly increased the volume of left nose with 0.094 cm3 (p = 0.02) and decreased distance of left nose with 0.023 cm (p < 0.01). In contrast, loratadine treated group did not show significant improvement.”

BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies See reference below.
Hay Fever and Allergies by Case Adams Naturopath
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Other research confirms ginger’s anti-allergy effects

A 2016 study from Japan’s Chubu University (Kawamoto et al.) tested ginger on allergies in the laboratory. They found that ginger and specifically 6-gingerol suppressed Th2 cytokines and also Th1 cytokines among spleen cells.

They also found that ginger suppressed mast cell production and moderated T-cell responses.

A 2017 laboratory study from Thammasat University (Makchuchit et al.) also found that a formula containing ginger (Benjakul) also significantly reduced allergic responses and inflammation related to allergies.

Outside of this there has been few if any studies on ginger and hay fever. Most research has studied ginger for its ability to curb nausea, especially during cancer therapy. But this is certainly a similar effect, because nausea is also an inflammatory response to the cancer drug. 

Why is ginger so beneficial?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used for thousands of years among traditional medicines for a variety of health conditions. Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine has used ginger profusely in treating patients in various inflammatory and gastrointestinal disorders.

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Ginger has been studied for its potential benefits in managing allergies in other studies. A number of animal studies have shown ginger’s anti-allergy effects, in addition to other benefits.

Ginger contains over 400 bioactive compounds. Some, such as gingerols and shogaols, have significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties may help modulate the immune system’s response to allergens.

Of course, that’s not the only story here. The bigger story is that ginger not only treats allergies. It treats a myriad of disease conditions, while contributing various health benefits along the way.

Scientific research has confirmed that ginger can treat a number of health conditions.

References:

Yamprasert R, Chanvimalueng W, Mukkasombut N, Itharat A. Ginger extract versus Loratadine in the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020 Apr 20;20(1):119. doi: 10.1186/s12906-020-2875-z.

Kawamoto Y, Ueno Y, Nakahashi E, Obayashi M, Sugihara K, Qiao S, Iida M, Kumasaka MY, Yajima I, Goto Y, Ohgami N, Kato M, Takeda K. Prevention of allergic rhinitis by ginger and the molecular basis of immunosuppression by 6-gingerol through T cell inactivation. J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Jan;27:112-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.08.025.

Li Y, Tran VH, Duke CC, Roufogalis BD. Preventive and Protective Properties of Zingiber officinale (Ginger) in Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetic Complications, and Associated Lipid and Other Metabolic Disorders: A Brief Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:516870. doi: 10.1155/2012/516870.

Kawamoto Y, Ueno Y, Nakahashi E, Obayashi M, Sugihara K, Qiao S, Iida M, Kumasaka MY, Yajima I, Goto Y, Ohgami N, Kato M, Takeda K. Prevention of allergic rhinitis by ginger and the molecular basis of immunosuppression by 6-gingerol through T cell inactivation. J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Jan;27:112-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.08.025.

Makchuchit S, Rattarom R, Itharat A. The anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects of Benjakul extract (a Thai traditional medicine), its constituent plants and its some pure constituents using in vitro experiments. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 May;89:1018-1026. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.02.066.

Uthaipaisanwong A, Oranratanaphan S, Musigavong N. Effects of ginger adjunct to the standard prophylaxis on reducing carboplatin and paclitaxel-induced nausea vomiting: a randomized controlled study. Support Care Cancer. 2020 Aug;28(8):3831-3838. doi: 10.1007/s00520-019-05201-5.

Author

  • Case Adams, Naturopath

    California Naturopath, Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, Doctorate in Integrative Health Sciences, Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. Diplomas in Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, certificates in Pain Management and Case Management/Contact Tracing. Has authored more than 30 books and hundreds of periodical articles on natural medicine. Recreational activities include surfing, sailing, running, biking, swimming, SUPing, hiking. Contact: case(at)caseadams(dot)com.

    https://www.caseadams.com [email protected] Adams, Naturopath Case

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